There’s definitely more than meets the eye to the Horse and Groom; innocuous-looking on the outside, this pub is an all night party on the inside.
The Horse and Groom appears to be an average boozer on first glance, and could easily be walked past without a second look. But, come down as the night wears on and, as the swathes of outside punters will demonstrate, it’s one of Curtain Road’s most popular venues. It’s fairly easy to see why. Firstly, the drinks prices are pretty reasonable for the area. Secondly, its East End-quirkiness (which, thankfully, doesn’t feel too forced) helps to draw in a fairly young and very up-for-it crowd. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s open until 4am. So, while others are kicking them out, the Horse and Groom starts packing them in. The venue also makes a real effort to cater for all. There are DJs upstairs (mainly house/electro music), screens for film nights and sporting events and free table football for the post-work crowd. There’s also a small room for hire, which is ideal for private parties.
A relatively mixed bag make up the punters, but it’s predominantly a younger crowd. No one should feel too out of place though, particularly earlier on in the evening. It favours space to dance rather than places to sit, so as the night draws on the Horse and Groom is good for a lively night out, but probably not the best place for a catch-up with a friend you haven’t seen in ages. The recent discovery that part of an Elizabethan playhouse, which staged Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for the first time, lies at the side of the pub has also attracted a whole new type of customer, and the daytime feel of the pub is distinctly different from its nighttime persona.
An impressive range of snacks are available – on top of the classic crisps (£1.10) and pork scratchings (£1.70), there are also olives (£2.70), chilli rice crackers (£2) and pork pies (£2.50).
The Horse and Groom keeps its prices simple. It’s £3.60 for a pint of beer, including Peroni and Staropramen, and £3.50 for a bottle. Single spirits with mixers are £4.10, and a bottle of house white wine will cost £14.50, while red will cost £15.50. Pitchers are also popular here, and a jug of Pimms or Jamaican Mule (rum and ginger beer – amazing!) is £12.
The Last Word
The Horse and Groom has a very hedonistic vibe – it definitely wants its customers to have a good night. And with pints of beer at £3.50 and a late licence, why not?